The Grimsby Town FC

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Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game


Drinkell Interview Part 2

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 11/02/2001

Are you enjoying management?

I did to start with. I accepted that by starting at Stirling I would be learning the ropes. It was interesting and we were successful. After 4 or 5 years, there was nowhere else for the club to go and no financial clout. I left and was offered another full time job, but this never materialised. I found myself sitting on my hands. As I knew the guy that has Montrose, I went up to help. I've out together a youth team, corporate hospitality package and I look after the first team. This is a long-term plan. I've signed 10 players (all 'frees' from Aberdeen & Dundee), and given them a stage to play on. Patience in needed from the fans - we've played well and have needed some luck. However, out last 2 games (both defeats) we were applauded off the pitch.

What are the downsides of management?

Not having enough to do (why do you think we are sat in a Stirling snooker club!?). Also, with Stirling being part-time and not being able to get my first team together for training!

Are there differences between playing and managing?

As a boss, you're reliant on other people. You can work hard and get nowhere. As a player you can work hard and perfect your own job.

What are the main differences between the English and Scottish leagues? The attitudes of players, fans and big businesses?

The main difference is the quality and quantity of players. There are 5 million Scots compared to 60 million English and Welsh. There aren't many full time teams (max. 20) - hence the lack of quality.

Drinkell at Rangers In the late eighties, Rangers were buying plenty of English players. This started the great divide. Then when big money came in, they broadened their horizons. The divide widened.

The fans are a different culture. The Celtic/Rangers divide - it's religious, political and dominates their lives.

Stirling is an affluent area. In the local paper, there are 30/40 Celtic and Rangers supporters clubs advertising coach trips to wherever. They'd sit in the pubs with teletext, following their 'teams' (if they couldn't go to a game) but would not take an interest in their local club. I built up a good side - we were dominating the 2nd division.

We'd won that title with 2 or 3 games left in the season. It was publicised that we'd be presented with the trophy and yet only 1,200 people turned up. Big businesses are taking more interest. Scottish Amicable have sponsored Stirling for the next 3 years. The local paper also now sponsors a stand. All of this should've happened 3 or 4 years ago when we had a decent fan base.

Drinkell at Norwich

There must be a lot of travelling involved in your job. How do you cope with it?

At Norwich, every away game was an overnight stay. Norwich is just so far away from anywhere. Scotland's easy - only Aberdeen was an overnight stay! A lot of the clubs are based around Glasgow and Edinburgh. In fact, there's 7 clubs in a 15-mile radius of Stirling.

Who was the biggest influence on your career?

My father. He was a 'frustrated' player (injured as a young man). There were 3 of us - he encouraged us to go on and play. He disciplined us well - not to be cheeky, to work hard and do our best.

Do you get time to relax and if so what are your hobbies?

I used to play Snooker - I played in the Grimsby doubles league years ago. I stopped picking a cue up to save embarrassing myself. (NB - Opponents have included Stephen Hendry). I do enjoy golf - there are plenty of courses near here.

Have you got a Scottish accent yet?

No - although occasionally an 'aye' or a 'wee' creeps in!

Do you like Haggis, Whisky and Shortbread?

I love Haggis! I hate the smell of Whisky - that alone puts me off. I got into Shortbread at Rangers - Nicky Walker (of the Walker family of Shortbread makers) was the reserve goalie. He'd always bring free boxes in. No, I've not worn a kilt either - never been tempted!

Did you see the Mariners at Wembley?

I didn't get there, but did watch them on TV.

Did you ever consider yourself a pin-up?

No, especially as I've got 2 daughters and with 3 women in the house I was reminded on how life really is!

Ally McCoist

You were Towns No 9. As No 9's go, how do you rate Ally McCoist (left)?

His goals speak for themselves. He was a goalscorer more than anything else. A poacher - a dying breed. He was excellent - just scoring those goals!

Would you come back to Town as manager?

Yes, I'd love to! To a degree, that's why I'm doing what I'm doing now. Learning my trade and gathering experience to do the job well.

Do you get back to Grimsby much?

Went back a few weeks ago - apart from that, not really. Both families visit us in the summer.

Do you miss the area?

Aye (!!), both families are there. We do keep in touch frequently though.

Have you had any embarrassing moments?

Er - no! Apart from if I've missed a sitter in front of 50/60,000 people. It's happened once or twice.

Any juicy gossip about former Town players bad habits?

Smoking! When I started playing, it was the norm for 7 of the 11 players to light up as soon as we got off the pitch and into the dressing room. On away trips, some of us would be puffing away on pipes whilst playing cards. I must have been 17, 18and smoking a pipe!

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Ambition - to buy a football club and try to run it properly. Take my family to an exotic place and relax for time immemorial!

How would you like to be remembered by Town fans?

I enjoy the fact that my goal ratio was good. I always worked hard, tried and gave 100%.

Thanks KEVIN. You're a star and we appreciate your time.

Linda Broughton

If you would be interested in recieving a sample copy of IAGE, please send an E-Mail with your name and address to Emma Gillingham

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